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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "A New Leaf" Episode 6

2014/05/15 | 696 views | Permalink

Seok-joo finally takes a step to turning his life around, though goodness knows it takes forever for him to get there. I thought we were going to watch him do some actual lawyering but it's only at the very end that he finally decides to use his legal powers for good instead of evil. It's a nice moment to build up to, but did we really need an entire episode to do it? It was obvious from the minute this woman showed up that she would be a part of his overall redemption arc.

By contrast Ji-yoon's role in the narrative remains poorly defined. I'm genuinely not sure what she's even supposed to be doing at this point. Ji-yoon's not much of an influence on Seok-joo in either positive or negative ways. She's just there. There's a few cute scenes revolving around her wants and oddly defined personal relationship with Seok-joo. But in terms of the broader plot, where is she even going? Is Ji-yoon going to learn something too?

This drama has a bad habit of just repeating all this background information that we already know without actually doing much to move it forward. Scenes like Seok-joo meeting his father and getting the cold shoulder work because this is a new experience for him. As far as Seok-joo knows he's on good terms with his father, so he has no idea how to react to the guy's general enmity. People Seok-joo used to advocate against, sure. But his dad?

Contrast, well, almost everything else. The last episode set up most of the important information regarding the current crime and Seok-joo's past relationship with the accused woman. As far as the office gossip goes, that's practically been the entire drama up until this point. It's just the same material, and as much as I'd like to be excited about this drama finally making progress with its characters actually doing something, I had the same false optimism last episode.

So far the only particularly strong part of "A New Leaf" is Seok-joo's personal story. Kim Myung-min continues to give an excellent performance as a man who's surprised to discover that so many people in his life genuinely dislike him, and decides to do something about it. The drama badly needs some courtroom action in order to make Seok-joo's personal conflict believable and exciting. Right now the other characters just aren't able to do much insofar as making this drama exciting to watch.

Review by William Schwartz

"A New Leaf" is directed by Park Jae-beom-II, written by Choi Hee-ra and features Kim Myung-min, Park Min-young, Kim Sang-joong and Ahn Sun-young

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